TV Binge: Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 2, 2017)

Ultimate Beastmaster had their season 2 released on Netflix on December 15th, 2017. You can see our recap of Season 1 HERE.

Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 2, 2017)

ultimate beastmaster

Creators: David Broome & Sylvester Stallone

Our household are big fans of Ultimate Beastmaster. From the structure of the beast to the structure of the challenge in this Netflix’s version of American Ninja Warrior, its a lot of fun to watch. This year’s Ultimate Beastmaster brought on a new slate of competitors. Aside from the USA being there in Season 1, there was China, India, Italy, Spain, France. Being Chinese, I was pretty happy to see China have its contestants and a lot of them were pretty incredible.

Ultimate Beastmaster

With new countries came new hosts and new chemistry. USA being the only overlap country in the two seasons came back with two different hosts. The first season was hyped up because of big names attached with Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson. This time, we had Tiki Barber and Chris DiStefano. It took a little while to get used to them however as they show did go on their jokes, while feeling a little like dad jokes did get a few funny moments. However, the Italian hosts and the French hosts had a really fun feud going on that worked to make it very entertaining to watch. Of course, the Chinese hosts also had a balancing act where the lady Qinyi Du was overly enthusiastic and was pretty much hilarious but was paired with Bin Gu who seemed much more quiet and contemplative. While he didn’t say much, somehow this pairing worked in its own way.

ultimate beastmaster

In many ways, this season’s beastmasters had two brother pairings which worked very well together. It came with a lot of nice and supportive moments. Plus, the competitors chosen here were quite diverse although parkour and mountain climbing athletes definitely had an advantage to the others with both flexibility and working to the obstacles here. It was also nice to see the sportsmanship exhibited here and the enthusiasm. Getting through any of these obstacles was challenging in any of the stages and no matter who you rooted for, it was hard to not feel tense for any of the competitors because the course was tough on them and this took a lot of courage.

ultimate beastmaster

In terms of budget, you can already see some changes in there. For one, the countries all have their own country colors and outfits and gears. On top of that, the course itself had some changes. The first stage starts off differently than season one and to be honest, this one feels much harder because its about jumping far distances which is good because it prepares you for the huge challenge even from the first season which are the energy coils. The point system also had an overhaul and I think its quite fair this way plus the point thrusters are not flip switches but actual buttons which is pretty cool. The first stage also had alternate paths with every other episode and group of competitors, which is new and refreshing. The second stage didn’t quite feel like there was a lot of changes. The third stage however did have bigger changes as they added in what seems like a longer area of sinking coils and transitioning to this Hangman section which is ridiculously hard just to watch because its so challenging to even watch. The final stage also had an overhaul that was pretty awesome and more extensive as well. You need to actually see the Beast to be really impressed with its challenges.

I’m not going to tell you who wins this whole thing because it would be completely in spoiler territory and I think that you should watch it because its a lot of fun. I would also love to see Ultimate Beastmaster go on to have more seasons so hopefully someone dropping by here with Netflix would want to watch it and give it some boost. Of course, there’s also the whole thing that watching this is so positive. I’m not sure about everyone else here but while I’ve fallen off the working out regime and working hard in 2018 to get back into it, this competition is so motivational and positive. But then, I’ve always loved to do treetop obstacle courses and thought before about trying out in Spartan Races and such. Maybe I’ll do it one day. On a finishing note, you know who I’d love to see doing this one just for kicks? Stephen Amell. A bonus celebrity version for charity would be pretty cool as well with TV and movie superheroes or something. Go watch Ultimate Beastmaster! Its totally worth your time.

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A Christmas Prince (2017)

We’re moving right along through another TV movie but this time its  a Netflix Originals called A Christmas Prince.

Suffice to say, if you frequent Twitter, you’ve probably heard of Netflix US and their twitter calling out the 50+ people who watched A Christmas Prince everyday for more than 2 weeks. I have my own thoughts on this and I’ll share it at the end of the review.

Moving on, lets see if I would mind watching A Christmas Prince on repeat!

A Christmas Prince (2017)

A Christmas Prince

Director: Alex Zamm

Cast: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, Honor Kneafsey, Emma Louise Saunders, Theo Devaney, Sarah Douglas, Daniel Fathers

When a reporter goes undercover as a tutor to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince, she gets tangled in some royal intrigue and ends up finding love – but will she be able to keep up her lie? – IMDB

A Christmas Prince is Netflix original that does tend to be fun to watch. Netflix hopping into this potential market of TV romantic comedies is a pretty great move. While everyone does acknowledge the sappiness of these movies, there is quite a market for those who enjoy these feel-good movies especially when it involves a somewhat generic plot. If you’ve been reading the last few reviews, I’m all about these movies when they manage to deliver good performances and great chemistry between their leads. A lot of stuff out there is generic and predictable and what sets them apart especially when faced with movies like these who don’t usually have a big budget is being able to connect with the characters. A Christmas Prince does that very well especially when paired with a beautiful setting and having some great performances by its cast to show off some fun characters. There’s some drama and its be to expected but despite all that, this story has hints of so many fun movies and is a little package of homages if you will ranging from a fictional world called Aldovia (Princess Diaries had Genovia) and then a Cinderella-esque story of a poor reporter meeting a prince so just a modernized one without a stepmother but rather a ruthless editor. And then there’s the prince who when getting ready for the throne at the coronation, he dresses like the Cinderella prince as well. Forget how the prince dresses, its a prince, okay? And he looks pretty good also. At a decent run time, the story never lags and keeps the plot moving throughout.

A Christmas Prince

A Christmas Prince is set during the Christmas holidays with the coronation landing on Christmas eve and having that big royal ball. Its in a snow fictitious kingdom called Aldovia which is set in a beautiful castle in Romania in reality which is pretty awesome. With that said the setting itself made the shots incredibly satisfying to watch. Winter fun came into play here like tobogganing and horseback riding in the snow as well as horse drawn carriage rides. Of course, one of the fun bits was the snowball fight. Its set in Christmas and winter and while it shows a lot of these moments, it never really feels like its too in your face which makes it feel natural. One of the things that these TV movies fail to do is give off that effect. The story here is pretty predictable and you’ll probably figure out whats going on before it actually does happen but its never really quite a hindrance because the ornament traditions the fact that the story focuses not only on the romance but also on the truth about the hesitation of the prince taking over the throne and the relationship that our reporter here Amber builds with the princess Emily is really everyone’s way of healing a year after the loss of their father. Sometimes, its the simple idea of someone relating to you and helping and encouraging to find the way to see yourself in a better way which is the case here with Amber who is a positive force even if she comes into their lives via a lie.

Christmas Prince

With that said, there are some pretty decent performances here. Rose McIver is very believable in her role here as, Amber the reporter in disguise as a tutor. There are some moments here that feel like they should have seen through her disguise as a tutor but I think the reason that she sticks around is that they grow fond of her because of her simplicity instead of how the royalty here thinks of everything a little too complex. I liked how natural she felt in her role. Especially as her character connected like a friend/older sister to the princess and romantically with the prince. The princess Emily is played by Honor Kneafsey which was a really good role with her own struggles and always kept Amber on her toes. What started out as a deal turned into something more as their friendship blossomed and they taught each other a little about life. Of course, we have to talk about the Prince Richard played by Ben Lamb who is a charming handsome guy who of course gets painted badly in the spotlight but turns out to be different when Amber learns the real him. Its nice because he gives off the hesitation well but also shows that he can find the courage at the end. Both Rose McIver and Ben Lamb pull off the romance quite well. There are some really cheesy dialogue here and there but never enough to feel too cringey. But then I have pretty high tolerance of it so maybe my word is slightly biased.

Overall, A Christmas Prince is a well-paced romantic comedy that packs a little of drama and comedy and romance. Ben Lamb and Rose McIver have great chemistry together. The setting of the movie is absolutely stunning and the holiday and seasonal integration is done really well using Christmas as a time frame and backdrop and using the snowy landscape for fun winter activities. This is an enjoyable one. It stumbles a little with its dialogue and as expected is predictable but definitely a winner here with a lot of feel-good moments.

Thoughts on Netflix’s tweet

While I think that Netflix thinks it was a joke (and looking at the comments, a lot of people consider that as well), I’m not so concerned about the info they hold about us because its a reality of it since we get the stats of our watching history also so why not them since they control it, but more the fact that movies are an escape, I’m not one of those people since I only watched it like 2 days ago, but I wouldn’t have liked to be judged about my watching preferences. However, I guess that is just one way to look at it. Some articles talk about Netflix using this tweet to brag about how well-received this movie is. The lesson here is that comedy (aka jokes) are incredibly subjective so maybe not sounding like the people watching your films are troubled is a good idea.  Anyways, I’m feeling like I’m taking it more serious than it was actually meant to be. So…Ha, Ha, Ha Netflix…you’re so funny.

That wraps up A Christmas Prince! Not perfect but still a really good time! I wouldn’t mind watching it on repeat.
On that note, a lot of people don’t really enjoy these movies (and I say it every single review that I do this). Predictable and generic, it sure is. But its important to respect that feel-good moments are hard to come by even right now as we get into the Oscar nominated films which are usually quite intense and deep so these TV movies offer a sweet escape as the world around us (by just looking at one page of news) looks so very messed up.

Sorry about missing out yesterday. It was a crazy day! I’ll have a second review going up later today to make up for it! 🙂

TV Binge: The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 1, 2017)

I love watching cooking shows. However, I don’t have actual TV so the only chance is when I visit someone else’s house and it happens to be playing. It does make it a very incomplete experience. Of course, there is the free streaming from one of the national TV channels which holds the episode for a week which is hard to remember sometimes to catch it every once in a while. When The Big Family Cooking Showdown appeared on Netflix, I went right ahead and started watching it. The premise behind it is pretty fun.

Let’s check it out!

The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 1, 2017)

the big family cooking showdownHosts: Zoe Ball & Nadiya Hussain

Judges: Rosemary Shrager & Giorgio Locatelli

Competitive food show celebrating the families who make ordinary food extraordinary, presented by Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain. – IMDB

The Big Family Cooking Showdown has a decent setup. It shows off families going head to head against each other for the title of the best family chefs. They pick their own teams of three to work together and create these dishes. In the first few episodes, it is two teams and whoever wins will head into the semi-finals. They have three rounds for this cooking event which isn’t live and loses the cooking on the spot as the rounds to get them into the semi-final has been given to them in advance so that they can prepare carefully. It leaves a touch of spontaneity there even if we don’t know what they are doing. Suffice to say, it does show the viewers which team has better time management than others and how they deal in stress as things usually don’t work out the way they would in your own kitchen. The first part when two teams go against each other is in three parts with three challenges: the 10 pound challenge, Home Visits Challenge and Impress Your Neighbors Challenge. The semi-finals have the remaining teams groups in 3 teams against each other for three rounds also:  What’s in the Fridge, Perfect Puddings and Nation’s Favorite With a Twist. And then the final features a continuous making of a three course meal.

the big family cooking showdown

The setup of the competition is pretty nice. The families are slightly diverse with their cultures and heritage adding a nice touch to each of these plates. The teams work out really well against each other. The first part has a nice bit of giving them time to prepare in advance and it really is up to them to have structured a plan with the time constraints and factoring in any stress or changes. At the same time, it also poses that question of losing that spontaneity that teams put on the spot would have. However, the challenges in the first rounds are pretty neat as they focus on family issues starting off with how much food can you make with a constrained budget. The Home Visit gives us a nice snippet of seeing the family in their own environment which helps minimize the accidents that could happen while the final round is impress your neighbors so its making the foods that go above and beyond but dishes that they are proud of in a three course meal. The structure here works because of these themes being more family-oriented. The spontaneity factor is fixed in the semi-final when their first and second challenge are unknown. The first tests their ability to be flexible with what is available to them and the second being how good they can work together and follow instructions while delegating the tasks that each member is better at. While the show does have a lot of pre-preparation, the segments do feel very well-done to make sure that it highlights the team and gives them time to improve on their menus and skills.

the big family cooking showdown

The hosts of the show are Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain. They are quite enthusiastic and often joke about their love for eating but their lack of knowledge on actual cooking which brings out their friendliness to be there. Where they lack the knowledge, they can build with their balance to the show’s charisma as they communicate with the families and introduce the rules of each part. The judges for this show are Giorgio Locatelli and Rosemary Schrager, who I’ve never heard of before. However, they obviously do have their knowledge of food and cooking which is undeniable. One thing that does fall apart is their criticism is slightly lacking in some parts where it becomes a little repetitive in the way they compliment or dislike certain foods. It is here that the show nearing the end seems to fall a little flat.

Overall, The Big Family Cooking Showdown is pretty enjoyable because the families’ diversity in their cooking and dishes mixed into their creativity. The hosts are very enjoyable to watch although the judges are qualified but lack the charisma in their criticism to make it seem more engaging.

Double Feature: #RealityHigh (2017) & Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond… (2017)

Welcome back to another double feature!

Today’s two films have only two things in common: Netflix Originals and 2017 releases. The first is the teen coming of age romantic comedy movie called #RealityHigh. To be honest, I only put this on because I wanted to have something simple to watch in the background. The second is the new documentary that recently landed on Netflix called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton. The title is so freaking long! Aside from that, the only reason for this was because I like Jim Carrey and this is based on his behind the scenes process and persona he took when he was filming Man on the Moon (which I haven’t seen). We’ll see if that affected my experience of it.

I guess the third common factor here is that they are both impulse viewings off the whole new system I had set to catch up on the Netflix List.  Let’s check these out!

#RealityHigh (2017)

Director: Fernando Lebrija

Cast: Nesta Cooper, Keith Powers, Alicia Sanz, Jake Borelli, Anne Winters, Patrick Davis, Michael Provost, Ryan Malaty, Kate Walsh, John Michael Higgins

High-achieving high-school senior Dani Barnes dreams of getting into UC Davis, the world’s top veterinary school. Then a glamorous new friend draws her into a Southern California scene that threatens everything she’s worked for. – IMDB

A lot of you who stop by here know that I’m a huge fan of these kinds of teenage movies. In fact, I’m downright forgiving of them. I’ve liked and loved a lot of them spanning from the 80s John Hughes to the recent The DUFF or Edge of Seventeen and the likes. #RealityHigh should be right up my alley. Except, even in my most forgiving mindset, it wasn’t. The story itself was generic and offered nothing new. The characters themselves seemed wooden as they acted out their roles. Maybe you can argue with me that its them having the teenage awkwardness but it felt so scripted and so unenthusiastic that it just was uninspiring to watch.

However, there are some high points here and there. One of the big ones is having Kate Walsh here. She’s fantastic as always. I’ve loved her since Grey’s Anatomy and in her veterinarian role here, she plays the guidance for our main character really well. It was always fun to see her on screen. Second, there was John Michael Higgins. He was doing a little of the same silly stuff just like the random bits he had in Pitch Perfect however, he somehow did become the highlight here. Another point here does go that one of the characters here called Shannon who is the main guy’s friend breaks out of the norm a little from the typical role and actually takes on the non-cliche path where he seems like he’s much deeper than he appears to be and gives insightful advice.

#RealityHigh is pretty dull. It follows the motion and lacks originality and engaging characters for us to actually care for remotely. While there are some flashes of okay moments, its one that I honestly can’t recommend.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond –
Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (2017)

Jim & Andy

Director: Chris Smith

A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999). –IMDB

Documentaries aren’t exactly my favorite genre to jump into. I like to watch this to escape from the realities of life but every once in a while, something clicks and the topic interests me. In this case, its Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The main reason is that (other than Stephen Chow and Robin Williams), I grew up with a lot of comedy of Jim Carrey. The Mask was the first movie I watched of his then Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, both of which I’d like to visit soon. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, I’ve never seen Man on the Moon and I don’t know much about Andy Kaufman other than from this documentary. As much as its about Andy Kaufman, this documentary is truly about Jim Carrey and the process he went through or even struggled through as he took the persona almost completely of Andy Kaufman. Why almost? Because sometimes he’d take on the persona of Tony Clifton and that was Andy Kaufman’s other persona. And when he was particularly in those Tony Clifton moments, he was pretty much absolutely ridiculously annoying and hard to handle. The documentary took a good angle of taking only Jim Carrey sharing his thoughts between the behind the scene footage that followed him around while shooting Man on the Moon. The hook of this was seeing how falling into the persona of Andy Kaufman in some ways changed the way of how he viewed his career and the path he chooses afterwards plus the struggle of whether he had gone too far and simply making peace with the choices he made.

Even without having seen Man on the Moon (and I’m sure it means even more if you had seen it), the journey that Jim Carrey takes for this role is an intriguing topic to dive into. Its a little controversial because he does show a very unlikable side of him in many extreme ways however it is also these type of conflicts that warrant a documentary and makes what he says make sense and pulls it all together. Well-executed and a nice look into what acting and taking on a role is all about, albeit its extreme choices, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond has some deep thoughts and a lot of entertaining behind the scene moments. It also gives you the benefit of the doubt of knowing who Andy Kaufman is by explaining the type of comedian he is and comparing to his works.

This wraps up the double feature! One meh and one really good one. Call this the unexpected turnout, right?
I ended not liking the genre I normally would like and loving the one that I normally don’t. 

Have you seen either of these Netflix Originals?

TV Binge: Girlboss (Season 1, 2017)

Almost two weeks ago, new Netflix Original series Girlboss was released. While I had heard a little about it, I didn’t know that Britt Robertson was the face of this show that loosely based on the true story of Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal Vintage. Now, I’m an avid reader but not exactly in that sort of genre so while I’ve probably seen #GirlBoss on shelves, its never quite hung around my brain for too long. Point is, never read the book and not too familiar with Nasty Gal and this is my first time knowing about it. With that said, Britt Robertson is really great and I’m a fan of her work. One of the young talented actresses that I’ve liked quite a bit so it was a no-brainer to check this one out.

GirlBoss (Season 1, 2017)

Girlboss

Creator: Kay Cannon

Cast: Britt Robertson, Ellie Reed, Johnny Simmons, Alphonso McAuley, RuPaul

Sophia, a misfit, discovers a passion for fashion, becoming an unlikely businesswoman in the process. As her business grows, however, she has to learn to cope with life as her own boss. – IMDB

Girlboss started with a monologue by Sophia that quickly reminded me of when Britt Robertson played Aubrey in The First Time, it had some positive first impressions. Girlboss may be wrapped up on seeing Sophia become a Girlboss but the charm of the show is in her character and how she grows while embracing who she is. Life is a series of unexpected events that take us for surprise. People may get hurt on your way to success but there are also people that make the compromise worth it and most of all, that its important to see that what might not mean a lot to you could mean a lot to someone else even in small gestures and those things can be fixed communication and sometimes they just can’t be fixed no matter how much you want. Sophia learns all these things and through the different characters she meets, they all change or at least teach her something more. She still surprises us in desperate situations and really is a courageous character. In some ways, it makes us wonder how great it would be to live like her and speak her mind with no filters. However, there is no argument that shortly after the show starts, we know that Sophia is a pretty unpleasant character and really not one that we want to cheer for. She has no sense of responsibility and really, just doesn’t want to grow up while thinking that she deserves more when she really hasn’t done anything to earn it. 

girlboss

With that said, while her best friend and her boyfriend are all unique in their own way, we never quite see them in their world because it isn’t their story. However, it doesn’t stop the fact that they each have their glimpses and their struggles and in their own way, has to learn how to deal and support Sophia in her journey to being a young entrepreneur. Annie, played by Ellie Reed while has an attitude is loyal and kind. Her intentions are true and one of the strengths of the show is also being able to emphasize on this friendship and their story.

On the other hand, Sophia’s boyfriend Shane, played by Johnny Simmons has much more scenes in the beginning and tends to make less appearances but still see his footsteps here and there. While I feel his performance fell a little short, I do have to say that Shane’s character is small but significant because he often is scripted to catch us by surprise just as he does for Sophia and really helps wake her up in certain ways. Other than these characters, we have Alphonso McAuley who plays Annie’s boyfriend Dax, a business student by day and bartender by night. He has some humorous moments just like RuPaul as Sophia’s neighbor who is easily the highlight of the show with some great dialogue bits that always help to make the audience laugh. 

girlboss

Girlboss is pretty odd but the character they have built with Britt Robertson as Sophia Amoroso is pretty compelling to watch, maybe a little annoying in the start. I’m not one to like to watch anything based on true events or memoirs or biopics, however Girlboss does take a dramatic but more comedic and a little sarcastic tone to it. It doesn’t get overbearing with too many characters and isn’t afraid to show us an imperfect character which makes her more human because she obviously has morals issues and even ethical issues in her conduct but its a learning process not only as learning to be  business owner but as a girl slowly growing up. She is very temperamental and brash. She’s a lot of bad characteristics and yet, perhaps its because she’s such a “garbage person” (as one of the episodes is called), it can highlight her road to something more. At the end of season 1, she’s still far from being a great person and perhaps Girlboss is best taken in small doses and not too bingeworthy, while I can totally understand how a person like Sophia would not exist in this world, we do see some pretty shitty people ruling the world as well so maybe its not too far from the truth. Plus, on a more personal level, there were some scenes that did impact me and it made me realize that in an incredibly subtle way, this show has its charming moments. For myself, that’s a win. Will I watch a second season? Sure, I’m just not sure they could make it work? 

Have you seen Girlboss? Are you a fan of Britt Robertson?

TV Binge: The Neighborhood (2014)

Another TV Binge here!

I thought it was fantastic to see Taiwanese series on Netflix but now, Hong Kong TV series are also gradually flocking  there. Its nice to see it, even if the bigger series haven’t quite landed there yet. There are some awesome shows that honestly, I’ve missed out on in the last few years. While those shows are good, it is hard to not admit that Hong Kong series are quite predictable and very formulaic, including dialogue. However, perhaps its a sense of nostalgia and the fact that I really enjoy watching certain actors and actresses and just the idea of something really simple that I like to spend my downtime to relax and give those a go. While Netflix isn’t showing any incredible Hong Kong series, the ones I’ve seen on there are actually pretty meaningful. Like this one for example, The Neighborhood, released in 2014 and a rather short series funded partially by the government in collaboration with RTHK radio station to encourage caring for and building the community in each neighborhood.

Let’s check it out!

The Neighborhood (2014)

The Neighborhood 2014

Cast: Chin Siu Ho, Xian Se Li, Chan Lai Wun, Ma Chi Wai, Mang Hoi, MastaMic, Det Dik

When laundromat owner in a neighborhood goes missing, everyone starts wondering where he is and starts realizing how little they know about the people they deal with every day. Until the laundromat owner’s estranged daughter Zoe shows up and ends up staying there. Her arrival and reluctance slowly change as she gets more involved in the community and she changes everyone as much as everyone changes her. The short form of this fifteen episode TV series is generally that. While this community does show a lot of people, the focus is on a few people that cover the different demographic and really how much each of these people regardless if they want it, do need to be cared for, even if they have everything planned like the mysterious old lady who sits at the top of the stairs everyday or a the crazy man called CIA who wanders about jotting down everyone’s information but breaking out into random made up silly songs or the patrol cop who sees the people in the neighborhood to be odd and quirky. Everyone has their story and in each episode, they hone into a different part of them as they grow closer together with the changes in the community and the fact that things may change but the people we know sometimes will leave a mark in our hearts.

The Neighborhood does a really good job at being a neighborhood. Sure, there are some predictable moments and its pretty obvious how things will turn out but still, there is still some sort of mystery behind these characters as we peel back the layers one episode after the next to reveal their inspirations and who each of them are. Not everyone is a good person but yet, for a 30 minute episode length, it does help flesh out the character a little more and with each appearance in the episodes, all the characters do feel very personal. However, this isn’t a drama so while it is very much in the line of Asian cinema to be very dramatic (particularly in series), this one knows how to keep it lighthearted and positive. Perhaps the jokes might not translate completely well in the subtitles however the essence of the show is still there. The Neighborhood

The focal point is definitely on Zoe, who is the younger generation along with the “young blood” of the neighborhood, Kei. While they are the first to meet each other and rather newer to the neighborhood, the differences in their point of views of how much to invest their time and feelings into their community are quite opposites and in many ways, they grow together. While you may expect a love story to blossom, surprisingly, the core of the show is not about that. Everything works out in a believable way. It definitely does lead the way and forge a path for certain relationships to build and there is a sense of it all being rehearsed and probably too coincidental, however, if you take out some of these factors and see that sometimes life does hand us these relationships that are forever or passing but still hold some meaning.

Perhaps, my love and exposure of the Hong Kong series has made me a little easier on this one, However, The Neighborhood holds its own meaning especially for a very densely populated city like Hong Kong and where everyone is always on the go and life is very routine. This series not only highlights a very important message perhaps even more for those living in Hong Kong and their community but also the fact that it does strive to show off the different areas of Hong Kong, using real life shots of the area to highlight its distinctive characteristics in each neighborhood. It was fun and entertaining and for me, that is all I ask for, plus its not overly long so its a refreshing breath of air to just relax and enjoy a series like this one.

TV Binge: Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1, 2017)

Reality TV has always had some sort of following on regular television. Along the similar veins of American Ninja Warrior, Sylvester Stallone’s co-created obstacle course beast is the new Netflix Orginal Series, Ultimate Beastmaster. Filmed in the California Dessert and grandly built with 4 different obstacles sectors and 108 competitors from 6 different countries and filmed over 8 days with 12 different hosts from USA, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Germany. This is a huge feat in itself. The question now is how compelling is this show going to be? Will it live up to expectations? How will they keep it entertaining?

Let’s check it out!

Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1, 2017)

Ultimate Beastmaster

Creators: David Broome & Sylvester Stallone

Eighteen competitors run an obstacle course known as “The Beast”, where nine of them will be crowned “Beastmaster”, and will compete against each other to be crowned Ultimate Beastmaster. – IMDB

 There’s something incredibly appealing about watching man perform and compete in challenging obstacles. It is similar to watching for example Olympics or Crossfit competitions. I gather that is the appeal of watching American Ninja Warrior. The Ultimate Beastmaster takes this initial concept and creates an entertainingly challenging course full of very competent challengers who are fighting for this title. Being in Canada, we got the American cut which means we spend most of it with hosts Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson. Terry Crews is a great host with lots of one liners and adds a lot of fun just like the other sections with the other countries’ host that are fun and colorful in their own ways as well. The competitors themselves, no matter where they are from, are also very fun to watch in action and of course, as we listen to some of their backstories with the US competitors having more complete backgrounds (because this is the US edit), really give us a good idea on who to cheer for in each round and speculate who will make it to to the finale. Its 10 episodes of fun and entertainment.

Ultimate Beastmaster

The best part aside from its variety of competitors and the colorful hosts are for the beast of a structure themselves. The obstacle course is very challenging. It relies heavily on a complete well-rounded physique. As the episodes progress certain episodes will have various modifications in their courses like changing the rope to swing from one obstacle to the next or adding extra difficulties in slope for another. As we watch the competitors, we gradually learn who are probably more capable and perhaps the best part is cheering for the underdogs who we never expect to go through and finally do. There’s going to be favorites and sometimes, we found ourselves cheering for so many of them. Plus, everyone has a different approach on how they complete these obstacles or whether they go for the point thrusters often placed in challenging places and making decisions that could make or break their run of that level.

ultimate Beastmaster

To become the Ultimate Beastmaster is a huge title, the hard work in each episode makes us know the competitors that win and head into the episode 10 finale which crowns the ULTIMATE Beastmaster. They run the same course luckily but with higher difficulty. Knowing that this series with filmed over eight nights makes us realize that these competitors really didn’t have a lot of time to rest before having to jump into their next run, especially for those entering into the finale. Their wounds haven’t had time to heal and everything can really be against them, even if they have a certain level of expectation. However, it also depends on how the competitors are grouped.

Ultimate Beastmaster

Overall, there is a great thrill in watching Ultimate Beastmaster. The concept of making it international and hosted and shown in different participating countries is very commendable. The course is challenging and monstrous. There’s so much to love about this show. While we hope for a new season, the question remains whether they will use the same course or whether the beast structure will stay the same and the obstacle course itself will be reconstructued in order to make it refreshing. It is definitely one to watch if you enjoy these types of shows.

Have you seen Ultimate Beastmaster?